Certainly Lady Tiger basketball will have a puncher’s chance in its bid for an upset on Friday at 6 p.m. at Burleson High School, but the Kennedale Lady Kats – No. 3 in the TABC 3A ranks – will force Glen Rose to bring its A-plus game in the area playoff contest.
Stephenville Empire-Tribune sports editor Brad Keith has seen Glen Rose play twice this year, but he also witnessed the top-ranked Honeybees defeat Kennedale 73-52 in December.
“Kennedale is led by 5’9” Jamaika Hughes, a Texas Tech signee with big-time speed and athleticism,” Keith said. “She controls games by slashing to the hoop and with her defense, but is also a capable outside shooter.”
Keith didn’t see her on the court that night in Stephenville though.
“Hughes missed the first half of her senior season as she rehabbed an injured knee, but returned for district,” Keith said.
Hughes was a TABC 3A all-state selection last season, and she was joined in that honor by fellow 5’9” guard Autumn Williams.
Keith mentioned another player that caught his eye.
“5’8” junior guard McKinely Bostad adds to Kennedale’s impressive athleticism and manages to fill out multiple categories on the stat sheet,” he said.
For Lady Tiger fans familiar with the Stephenville roster, Keith compared Hughes to Honeybee standout Sheridan Stokes and Bostad to Leslie Billings.
UPDATE: In a very interesting development, shortly after this story was posted an unnamed source with knowledge of the situation informed the Glen Rose Reporter that - per an agreement with Texas Tech - Hughes will not be playing against Glen Rose or in the postseason overall in order to maintain her health.
Kennedale has also faced a few other common opponents with Glen Rose. In November, it rolled Whitney 89-16 and 91-24. In January, Kennedale beat Fort Worth Castleberry 82-10 and 96-9.
Perhaps most relevant in regard to a team similar in talent to Glen Rose, the Lady Kats defeated Mineral Wells 67-50 in January and then 77-40 in February. That first result shows that the Lady Tigers could have an opportunity to take the game into the fourth quarter if they are firing on all cylinders.
There are a few things working in Glen Rose’s favor right now, namely that junior forward Kayla Goebel played one of her best games of the season on Tuesday against Brownwood with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Senior point guard Reilly Junge has been playing valiantly – and effectively – through her knee injury, as she put up nine points, five rebounds, five assists, seven steals and a block in that ballgame.
Other players will have to step up in regard to ball handling against Kennedale’s pressure to ensure that responsibility doesn’t fall entirely on Junge’s shoulders, but that versatile stat line earlier in the week shows that the senior is ready to roll heading into this contest.
Senior post Destiny Ponce’s offense will certainly be needed, and she scored an efficient 12 points on Tuesday. Sophomore Kelsey Potter could be a crucial component for Glen Rose in this matchup.
Potter had a quiet game by her standards against Brownwood, but as an underclassman getting that initial playoff game out of the way could make a big difference. Her rebounding, defensive prowess and ability to attack the basket will all be essential for the Lady Tigers in such a difficult matchup.
"It's going to be a good game, so everybody needs to come out and support us for that one," Goebel said after Tuesday night’s win.
Certainly a 24th win for the Lady Tigers is going to be a tall order, but all the players ask for is an opportunity to shock and awe – and advance.